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Crimea 27, Ukraine 26, Sergei Lavrov 17, Russia 16, Us 14, Moscow 12, Bbc 8, U.n. 8, Madrid 8, Oscar Pistorius 8, Cairo 7, Syria 6, U.s. 5, John Kerry 4, Sally Nabil 4, Nik Gowing 4, Paris 4, South Korea 4, Gas 4, North Korea 4,
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  BBC America    BBC World News    International issues.  

    March 5, 2014
    6:00 - 7:01am EST  

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hello. i'm nik gowing with "bbc world news." our top stories. diplomatic efforts under way aimed at reducing tensions and preventing misunderstand dings in ukraine and crimea. russia's foreign minister says they have no control. >> this is the residents of crimea, they do not get any orders from us. os spar pistorius murder trial has been adjourned for procedural reasons.
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he claims he miss stook his girlfriend for an intruder. i'm karn giannone in pretoria with details about witnesses testifying about a separate gun charge. egypt's attitudes to press freedom under the spotlight. the high-profile trial of al jazeera journalists resumes. hello everyone. in ukraine there are hopes diplomatic contacts planned in the next few hours between russia, ukraine's interim government, the european union and u.s. could present measures to ease tensions. here is tim willcox in kiev.
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>> reporter: hello. you join me live in independence square here in central kiev. the number of demonstrators and protesters has diminished significantly over the last few weeks. you can see the shrine still erected to those who lost their lives almost a fortnight ago. 88 pictures. there are candles being lit for them every day by people who gave their lives here. let's talk you through the latest developments because u.s. secretary of state general kerry is due to meet the russian foreign minister for talks in paris later today. among the discussions could be the areas discussed between president and angela merkel last night. that is for international monitors to be put on the ground in crimea. russian forces back to base. sergei lavrov has made it clear
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in the last few hours that the troops on the ground in crimea are not russian. he says they are from self-defense forces looking to russia for protection, but not members of the russian military. those are the outlines of the developments so far today. let's just listen to a little of what sergei lavrov had to say in mid drid. >> translator: i would to understand what you understand by pro russian forces. these are the forces of self-defense created by the residents of crimea. we did not order them. they didn't get any orders from us. as to the military personnel of the black sea fleet, they are in places of their dislocation, yes. some additional measures of extra vigilance were taken to provide the security of the troops of the police fleet.
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as our president said we will do everything not to let any bloodshed, not to any attempt at life and security of those who live in the ukraine including, of course, the citizens of the russian federation. >> reporter: sergei lavrov speaking in madrid. let's go to tom barge who sdwroins us now from madrid. was anything discussed about this outline plan about international monitors, tom? >> reporter: it's interesting, a small protest group living in ukraine. on that point sergei lavrov said the west are going to have to ask the crimean government, the regional governments in crimea. that government is very new finance the last few days and pro russian. russia trying to push the idea that the legitimate authority in
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that part of ukraine is the regional government. also, interesting when we asked lavrov whether russia would be willing to negotiate the withdraw of forces, sergei lavrov saying those forces do not take authority from moscow. no real detail about how this could be resolved, and despite all the friendly language between the spanish foreign minister and russian foreign minister particularly about economic and mutual business interest, when it comes to the legitimate authority in kiev and whether, they're still a long way apart. >> reporter: tom with the latest in madrid. sergei lavrov drew to fly to madrid for talks with secretary
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of state john kerry. a point he made is that these aren't russian military personnel, is there any way of proving that? have you been able to find out exactly who they are? >> reporter: well, interesting, tim, we've been down to the ukrainian naval made quarters here, there you've got this kind of standoff where you've got some of these russian volunteers, russian self-defense force mingling with what look very much like russian army soldiers without the insignia. they are essentially outside the naval base there, besieging it really is the only way to look at it because the ukraine iian when we were down there, these russian forces were not letting wives and families bring food
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supply into the ukrainians. it really does look like a siege. this is what we found this morning. we've come to the ukrainian headquarters where there are volunteers from the self style russian defense force effectively besieging this base along with unidentified russian soldiers as well. they won't even let us go from here, the few yards to those gates to try to talk to or interview the ukrainian naval staff who are inside there. at first they didn't even want us to firm. a russian cos sack pushed his whip into our camera. then he did agree to give us his point of view. the commanders came and told us they're loyal to the people seized power. here in ukraine we think viktor yanukovych is the legitimate president. behind the gates the naval
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presence are refusing to no matter how much pressure they're under. their wives came bringing them food and clothes, but they refused to let them deliver their supplies. a retired naval commander who is pro ukrainian told me it is tense but peaceful. >> only one way peaceful co-existence could be. peaceful co-existence. it's like a barrel with the powder. right now everyone can understand, war is not the case. war is not the choice of people. >> reporter: no one doubts the very real dangers of this standoff, but it's also beginning to look like a stalemate that could last for quite some time. >> reporter: actually where we are here in the bay of saab baft poll it looks very beautiful, beautiful, sunny weather. people are promenading along the
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bay. this is an area that feels very much under moscow's control, under russia's control. there are people you may be able to see with the russian flag. they've come out with the russian flag with pictures of vladimir putin. 58% population russian. out in the bay is a russian mine sweeper. this area is very much russian for now, time. back to you. >> ben brown there in sevastopol. also tom burridge in madras. the focus to paris where john kerry and the ukraine foreign minister are looking to meet with russian foreign minister sergei lavrov. for now, from me, tim willcox and the whole team, back to you in london. thanks, tim in kiev.
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now to south africa, the third day of the oscar pistorius trial. the chief defense lawyer has been seeking to undermine the prosecution testimony of a couple who say they heard a woman's screams and gunfire the night the athlete fatally shot his girlfriend. a fourth witness has been testifying about a separate gun charge when oscar pistorius allegedly fired a shot under a table. he's pleaded not guilty to killing his girlfriend. let's go to my colleague karin giannone. particularly about that incident of what was said in court about that incident. >> reporter: kevin lorena who was out with a meal with oscar pistorius and other friends. one of those friends handed oscar pistorius his pistol. he apparently had a look at it.
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it's alleged the gun went off in his hand accidentally, just grazing the toe of kevin lorena under the table and causing a lot of shock and consternation. why the prosecution have brought in this firearms charge, an additional charge to murder is trying to paint oscar pistorius as a trigger happy, irresponsible, reckless person who would have been capable of what they october cuesed himd of on the night of valentine's 2013. kevin lorena is the first witness to agree to be shown live on camera. the other three before him have all declined to have their faces shown. >> well, the movements, the actions. i didn't see the gun. >> you heard what was said. >> one up. >> what did you understand one up sf. >> that that there's one loaded in the chamber. people that carry guns i suppose carry one up.
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>> and what happened next? >> a shot went off. a shot went off in the restaurant and then there was complete silence. once the shot went off, i looked down, i was in shock, and i looked down on the floor and exactly where my foot was stationary, there was like a hole in the floor. >> reporter: well, the court has been adjourned for procedural reasons and will reconvene after lunch. looking for things to get under way in about 50 minutes' time. with me is a criminal lawyer in johannesburg. what have you been making of events so far? the order of the witnesses, the actions of the defense and how tough he's been on two of the prosecution witnesses? >> i think what people need to understand, the state or the
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prosecution team has to fill the court with a number of hours. they basically have to make sure they're looking at who is available. so the court doesn't want to adjourn. so this morning when they he wanted to consult something on his ipad, it was common cause that they would cause another person to come in his place. >> the husband of michelle berger, he also underwent so many cross examination hours that we heard. >> i think one must understand that what the state is trying to seek with this evidence -- the state is introducing evidence of people -- of riva screaming. that's what they're trying to do. by doing that, that will refute oscar's version that there was an argument. he has very specific duty to make sure that the court wouldn't take into cog sans, alternatively give a plausible explanation for the way they
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testified. >> do we expect more of that, once we've got whatever they need? they needed more documents, needed to get something off the ipad. >> whenever a witness during testimony refreshes his evidence or refreshes himself or anything or he said i made notes and based on those notes i'm testifying today, he immediately opens the door for the defense to say, seeing that you refreshed your memory, kindly provide so we can see if you're consistent with your version. that's what it shows, credibility on the part of the witness. if that witness sticks to the same story he had back then, it shows the witness is credible. >> we heard barry ru oscar's lead council for the defense saying they didn't actually have any -- they weren't expecting this fourth witness to appear at that particular moment. they needed time to prepare so the court was adjourned early before lunch. what was going on there? >> they prepared for johnson to be cross examined. like his wife, i assume johnson will be there for quite a while.
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he'll get some grilling there, i believe. the moment he stepped down or the moment there was an intervention that he had to get his ipad to get the notes, when that happened, it immediately meant the next witness had to be called. they were not prepared. they assumed he would cross examine for for at least one or two days. >> you don't think there's anything unusual about why they called kevin lerena to come and testify? >> i cannot introduce evidence that oscar is a bad person. it's not allowed. unless the defense attorney opens up the door and says my client is a fantastic guy, the best person ever. then you leave the door open for the state to attack credibility. what is the state trying to do? they're trying to show oscar pistorius was a person that was gun ho, character evidence. because there's a charge to this
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effect, and understand the same things on something like negligent firing of a firearm. >> reporter: thank you very much indeed. in around 45 minutes' time we're expecting the court to resume its proceedings again. we'll continue to bring you the very latest developments from inside. >> the bbc's karen giannone. and andrew harding is live in the caourt as the day unfolds. you can read what he's saying @bb clfrnlthsandrewh. still to come, a scathing report by the united nations condemning both sides in the syrian conflict for using starvation and siege warfare. the solutions. the innovations. all waiting to help us build something better.
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you're with me "bbc world news." diplomatic efforts under way aimed at reducing tensions and preventing misunderstand dings in ukraine and crimea. russian foreign minister sergei lavrov says moscow is not in direct control of forces in crimea. the oscar pistorius murder trials that been adjourned for procedural reasons. he denies murder, claiming he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder. now to the latest ominous developments in syria. the u.n. is accusing the syrian government and the armed opposition of widespread human rights abuses in their battle for syria. the u.n. says government forces systematically commit murder, torture and rape. they claim sexual torture is perpetrating against men and boys in detention. opposition forces have also been
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accused of committing war crimes including murder, torture, hostage taking and rape. they have also been accused of using children to fight t. report adds that over 250,000 people are trapped in besieged cities, denied food, water and medical care. most sieges have lasted longer than a year. let's go to bbc's imojen foulkes in geneva. the use of siege warfare and starvation in syria, what is the u.n. describing? >> reporter: it's describing a situation affectth over a quarter of a million people, many of them women and children who are trapped inside cities across the country, bombed relentlessly on a daily basis, the u.n. says, that no food or medical care is being allowed in. there's very little food. people are eating leaves, tree
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twigs to survive, and people -- this is one of the things that has really, really shocking is people who try and sneak out, women, to get a bit of food to feed their children are being attacked and the food taken away from them when they try to go back in. so this is really a fundamental law of war, if you like, being violated, and yet another in a very long catalog of crimes against humanities in which the u.n. has documented. >> this is being tabled to the human rights council with only limited access to people because of the dangers of being there. what on earth can be done to even begin to stop this kind of thing happening more than three years into war? >> reporter: that's a very good question. and there is absolutely no easy answer to it. i think what is very significant in this report is that in previous reports these u.n.
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investigators have underlined the fact that a political solution is necessary in syria and that dialogue between the different warring parties should take place. that's really not in this report. instead there's damning criticism of the u.n. security council because we know how unable it has been to take any action, to reach any decision over syria. what the u.n. investigators say is security council, and particularly those five permanent members, you now must take responsible for allowing these awful war crimes and crimes against humanity to continue. now, there will be a call once again for referral to the international criminal court. there's a list of people thought responsible forward crimes inside syria from both the government and both the opposition, but it needs the security council to refer that. once again, we have seen very little sign that the security council is able to come to any
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decision on that. >> very quickly, if you can, imogen, i'm reading the document towards the end here. it does come up with conclusions and recommendations. >> reporter: yes, it does. again, they are tragically modest because some of the key recommendations in this report are please respect the international laws of war, the geneva conventions, don't starve people, don't ta people. the world's top human rights body is regulated to this, reminding a country and warring parties of obligations to which they have long signed up to but have shown no signs of respects. >> the bbc's imojen foulkes in geneva, thanks very much indeed. let's go to egypt now where the trial of three journalists from the al jazeera news channel
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is due to open in the capital of cairo. they've been held since late december on charges of collaborating where the muslim brotherhood and broadcasting what was termed false news. they pleaded guilty to no all charges when the trial first began in cairo last month. sally nabil reports from outside the courthouse in cairo. >> reporter: behind these gates lie it is courtroom in which three al jazeera journalists are being prosecuted. we have spoken to some members of the defense team today and they say, again, they are going to ask for the defendants to be released on bail. we have also spoken to some families members of these defendanting including peter's brother and mohammed's father. both of them claimed about the bad conditions in which the defendants are being kept, though the egyptian journalists have been moved a while ago from solitary confinement.
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human rights groups have severely criticized the egyptian government accusing it of restricting freedom of speech. the government says these accusations are absolutely baseless. today we have no egyptian media to spotlight heavily on this trial. it's mainly foreign press that has been present today. >> sally nabil there outside the courthouse which is actually a prison near cairo. let me give you news just coming in, after we heard the $1 billion offered by united states to the ukraine government yesterday, within the last few moments it's been reported that the european union, commission president jose manuel barroso say it is european union will provide ukraine $15 billion of financial aid to ukraine over the next couple years, remembering ukraine is in a very difficult financial situation and is virtually a bankrupt country. that as the defense minister of
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russia has described as utter rubbish photographs and videos which appear to show russian troops and military hardware in crimea. the russian foreign minister in madrid says none of those russian troops or forces who are armed are under any control from moscow, they are self-defense forces. more on bbc news shortly. stay with me. the puck, the puck, horsehide, bullet. right where it needs to be. coach calls it logistics. he's a great passer. dependable. a winning team has to have one. somebody you can count on. somebody like my dad. this is my dad. somebody like my mom. my grandfather. i'm very pround of him. her. them. activia tummies, happy people when you feel good inside. you live life with a smile. but when you feel bloated, with discomfort, gas, not to mention the rumbling... you feel totally knocked out. eat activia. twice a day for four weeks. it could help you get back to feeling like yourself again.
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you're with "bbc world news." that was the british foreign secretary. our top stories at this hour, diplomatic efforts under way aimed at reducing tensions and preventing misunderstandings in ukraine and crimea. russia's foreign minister says moscow has no direct control over armed russians in crimea. >> tease are the forces of self-defense that were created by the residents of crimea. we did not order them. they didn't get any orders from us. oscar pistorius, the murder
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trial has been adjourned for procedural reasons. the pair olympian denies murder and claims he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder. the high profile trial of al jazeera journalists will hopefully resume. hello everyone. in ukraine there are hopes that diplomatic contacts planned between russia, ukraine's interim government, the european union and the u.s. could produce measures to ease tensions. russian foreign minister sergei lavrov says moscow wants to stop a blood bath. in ukraine the foreign minister
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urged for a peaceful conflict. u.s. secretary of state john kerry is there after flying from kiev. he's expecting to meet the russian foreign minister sergei lavrov who said the legitimate president in ukraine was removed unconstitutionally and the west is setting a bad example by supporting ukraine. >> translator: if we were to give this allowment to those who are going to govern our great brotherly neighbor, we should be aware that this bad example is contagious and we have to be really cos assistant without any double standards. let's move to crimea to bbc's ben brown who joins me from sevastopol there, overlooking the sea there. important is where you've been today and what you've seen literally at the entrance to one of the military bases in that
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city. >> reporter: that's right, nik. this crimea feels very much under de facto russian control now. if you just have a look around here, you can see people out along the bay here promenading, it's a lovely day. it seems very peaceful. 58% of the population here who are russian, they've been coming up to us, some of them with russian flags, pictures of vladimir putin saying how happy they are. but there is real tension here. we saw some of it yesterday with the shots being fired over the heads of unarmed ukrainian soldiers by russian troops at one of the air bases here. today we've been along to another base to see one of the standoffs that continues. we've come to the ukrainian naval headquarters where there are volunteers from the self star russian defense store effectively besieging this base along with unidentified russian soldiers as well. they won't even let us go from here, the few yards to those
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gates to try to talk to or to interview the ukrainian naval staff who are inside there. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: at first they didn't want us to film. a russian cos sack pushed his whip into our camera. then he did agree to give us his point of view. the commanders came and told us they're loyal to the people seized power in kiev. here in crimea, we think viktor yanukovych is the legitimate president. behind the gates, the naval personnel here are refusing to switch allegiances, however much pressure they come under. their wives arrive to bring them food and fresh clothes, but the russians laying siege to this base refused to let them deliver their supplies. a retired naval commander who is pro ukrainian told me it is tense but peaceful. >> only one way, this is the peaceful co-existence could be,
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peaceful co-existence. that's it because it's like a barrel with powder. but right now everyone can understand this war is not the case, the war is not the choice of people. >> reporter: no one doubts the very real dangers of this standoff, but it's beginning to look like a stalemate that could last for quite some time. here in the bay in sevastopol, just to show you an indication of how the russians are in control here, you can see one of their mine sweepers maybe just over there behind my left shoulder in the distance, it's moored there, anchored there, been there for quite a long time. there are several oerl russian naval vessels there as well, all underlining the message really that on the ground with their troops and at sea with their ships, the russians very much in control of crimea right now. >> ben, you've been in russia many times. you were based in moscow and you've seen the soviet and russian troops operating in the field in the past. what's your reflection on who these self-defense forces as the
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foreign minister said, really are. the defense minister has just said this is utter rubbish that these are russian troops. >> reporter: well, the russian troops, whatever you want to call them, they're in two groups really. as you saw in my report, there are the civilian volunteers, however your want to describe them. they're a mixture of people. they are essentially civilians who come to these bases to join the siege really. some of them cos sacks as we saw there, other civilians who feel very passionately that crimea should be russian. then there are also these russian soldiers. they don't have the russian army insignia. if you look at their vehicles, they're clearly russian army vehicles. absolutely no doubt about that. they're being pretty disciplined. they have their backs to the gates, in fact. there's less chance of provocation or arguments between the russian soldiers and the ukrainians, but the tension very
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much -- very real here in crimea right now. ben, thanks for joining me from sevastopol there, the bbc's ben brown. the russian foreign minister sergei lavrov has been in madrid, a bilateral trip to meet the spanish foreign minister. he's on his way to paris for what was meant to be a meeting about lebanon, but now turning into a big meeting on what to do on crimea and ukraine. let's go to madrid. sergei lavrov said important things there. the bbc's tom burridge joins us. he said don't assume any self-defense forces you see there are actually under moscow's order. >> reporter: that's right, nik. a small group of ukrainians, people demonstrating outside the foreign minister. the russian foreign minister, i actually asked him, would russian or pro russian forces,
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however you interpret those forces, how you perceive them, would russia withdraw those forces. he said those forces do not take orders from moscow? i think the other interesting point comes from sergei lavrov, a question about whether russia would be open to the idea of an international team to go there to try to resolve the crisis. sergei lavrov said the west and other international partners should be asking the krichlian regional government. russia trying to push that idea that the legitimate authority in crimea is the crimean regional government which was appointed recently and of course is pro russian. >> we can hear you with everyone around you, i should reassure you. an interesting factor along the iberian peninsula, there are a lot of ukrainians. >> reporter: there are. like any european country, this crisis is being closely watched. there's no doubt what these
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people behind me believe, they believe that president putin is an aggressor. they believe that viktor yanukovych is not the legitimate leader and they support the now government in kiev. but once again, going to the press conference, one of the two parts -- there was lots of very friendly language at the beginning of the press conference from the russian foreign minister and his counterpart, sergei lavrov. when it came to the key question of legitimacy in ukraine, in crimea, where the actions of russian forces in that part of the world have been legitimate in recent days, spain and the eu in effect and russia, still poles apart. little detail on where this crisis is going next and how it will be resolved. the context for european countries, russia is an important european partner.
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that's how you have to look at the position of spain and the eu in this circumstance. let's go to paris to which sergei lavrov, the russian foreign minister is flying. u.s. secretary of state john kerry is already there. so is the ukrainian interim foreign minister. let's go to hugh schofield. the french foreign minister said after meeting that they are hoping to initiate dialogue. it just sounds that they're hopeful but are not sure. >> reporter: they're hopeful, i don't think they're particularly optimistic. obviously if anything is going to happen in the way of dialogue, it will have to be kick started by some kind of meeting like we're having today. we just heard william hague t british foreign secretary saying the hope of the day and the test of the day would be to see if the russians and ukrainians were willing to start some kind of
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dialogue. he very much hoped they would, obviously. i hope in a way, that's what we've got to look out for, whether sergei lavrov who is arriving around now here from madrid as we heard will meet with the ukrainian, the new ukrainian foreign minister. if there is some kind of meeting between them, that would suggest there is a sort of hope that some kind of deescalation might be foreseeable. if there's a blanket refusal by lavrov to meet him or the two men refuse to meet each other, that's a worse sign. up till now, the russian position has been that the ukrainian government in kiev is illegitimate and it won't sit down with it. the hope and i think the pressure from hague, kerry, the french, the germans who will be here will be to try to get some sort of process, even a conversation going so th.
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>> that may have be talking about the idea of not just military observers but other observers to make sure there's a full understanding of who is doing what both in ukraine and crimea. more to come as yes get it. let's go to south africa, the third day of the murder trial of athlete oscar pistorius has broken for lunch. on the stand this morning, the witness, charles johnson, husband to michelle berger who testified yesterday. he was questioned by the defense lawyer who suggested the two witnesses had discussed their testimonies between themselves before giving evidence in court. >> you told the court, but for emotional support, after your statements you did not discuss it. that aspect is not in the statement. it came out when she was confronted on hearing the four shots and why she could say it
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was four shots. it was not something old. it came out in cross examination, on examination, chief, i can't remember. but in evidence, not in her statement, you saw it after evidence. now you come without me asking you, you think it's an additional coincidence. that's what i'm putting to you. you discussed the evidence and i will argue to the court it is just too remarkable that there was -- that you did not come and give evidence after your wife first called someone else, let you and your wife be together, make sure that you patch and that the evidence is consistent, light fading, light pause between the shots, like the music counting. you understand? you understand what i put to you, mr. johnson? >> i understand what the applicant is saying. i can honestly tell you we did not discuss her evidence -- i
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mean her testimony. can i give you my honest word. >> once witnesses start to introduce the word honestly, then i wonder about it because right from the beginning it should have been honestly. you don't have to say it. >> the court asks for mr. johnson to lurn to the stand tomorrow. then it brought out kevin lerena, a professional boxer who was out for a meal with oscar pistorius january a year ago. he was on the stand to talk about what oscar pistorius allegedly shot a gun under the table. >> you saw the gun being passed under the table? >> the movements, the action. i didn't see the gun. >> you heard what it was said? >> one up. >> what did you understand what up? >> that there's one loaded in the chamber. people that carry guns, i suppose carry one up.
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>> and what happened next? >> a shot went off. a shot went off in the restaurant and then there was complete silence. once the shot went off i looked down, i was in shock and i looked down on the floor and exactly where my foot was stationary, there was like a hole in the floor. >> the court has now adjourned while the defense prepares to talk to mr. lerena. you can always keep up to date. bbc's andrew harding is there tweeting live from the court once it's back in session. he's @bbcandrewh. stay with us here on "bbc world news" with me nik gowing. still to come, thousands in north korea risk their lives to escape, but now some go back. we explain why. ob to find them. the answers. the solutions. the innovations. all waiting to help us build something better. something more amazing.
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you're with "bbc world news" with me, nik gowing. i have the latest headlines for you. diplomatic efforts now under way aimed at reducing tensions and preventing misunderstand dings in ukraine and crimea. russian's foreign minister says moscow is not in direct control of forces in crimea. oscar pistorius's trial has been adjourned for procedural reasons. the pair olympian denies murder and claims he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder. the trial of three journalists from the al jazeera news channel has reopened in cairo. they've been held since late december on charges of collaborating with the muslim brotherhood. that's a banned group, and for broadcasting what was termed false news. they pleaded not guilty to all charges when the trial first began in cairo last month. the bbc's correspondent outside the court spoke to andrew grester, brother of peter who is one of those on stril.
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he's been speaking about the conditions his brother faces. >> he's in a small cell with these two other colleagues, the cell approximately three meters by four meters. at that stage he's still only going getting one hour of exercise a day. the rest of the time he's in the cell. he's holding up, but he's got to. he's extremely strong character and it's remarkable how well he's managing with it. it's extremely stressful for everyone in the situation. >> the brother of peter greste. the bbc's sally nabil is outside the courthouse with this update on what is happening. >> reporter: behind these gates lies the courtroom in which three al jazeera journalists are being prosecuted. we have spoken to some members of the defense team today. they said again they are going to ask for the defendants to be released on bail.
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we have also spoken to some family members of these defendants including peter greste's brother and mohammed's father. both complained about the bad conditions any which the defendants have been kept though the journalists have been moved a while ago from solitary confinement. human rights groups have severely criticized the egyptian government accusing it of restricting freedom of speech. the government says these accusations are absolutely baseless. today we have no egyptian media to spotlight heavily on this trial. it's mainly foreign press that has been present today. >> sally nabil in cairo. in protest of what they call an interference of internal affairs, withdrawing diplomats from qatar. stipulating non-interference in each other's affairs, that includes support to hostile
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media. qatar hosts and funds the al jazeera network. gunfire has erupted in juba. a resident told the bbc black smoke is coming from barracks. some people are fleeing the area. it's unclear who is responsible for the shooting and why it's happening. sudan has been in a state of political unrest since last year. thousands have been killed in the resulting violence. india's election commission has confirmed the country's general election will start on april 7. the nine phases will take over a month to complete. more than 800 million people will have the chance to vote in the biggest election the world has ever seen. there should be the votes counted on may 16th. our india correspondent sanjoy majumder has the details. >> reporter: the dates have been announced for voting in the world's biggest democracy.
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that's the indian parliament. the lower house has 545 members. all those seats will be up for grabs in next month's general election. the voting is spread over a five-week period to account for the massive lo jift cal exercise that an indian election is. since the last vote in 2009, 100 million new voters have been added, nearly a million polling stations will be set up across the country. now, the governing congress party is facing a massive challenge with voters angry over rising prices and corruption scandals. its main challenge is from the opposition bjp led by one of the country's most controversial parties, far wren draw modiled. the x factor in these elections is a brand new anti-corruption
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par, a common man party which has caught the imagination of the indian public. many are waiting to see how its leader fairs in these elections. the incoming prime minister singh has already announced he will step down. congress is being led by rahul gandhi, the latest member of the most influential dynasty. all the pre election surveys placed modiled as the favorite. there's a long way to go before the first day of polling. many people believe that the voters of the world's largest democracy are being presented with a clear set of choices. now they have to make up their mind. >> the details of india's giant election in april and may. over the past two decades more than 25,000 people have risked everything to escape the brutal regime in north korea. they took a long dangerous journey. once in south korea they were
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gained citizenship. now for a twist, some of the new arrivals are actually going back home. the bbc's lucy williamson explains more from seoul. >> reporter: today's lessons at the heavenly dream boarding school in seoul, trust, self sufficiency and korean literature. the children here are all north korean defectors learning to speak the cultural language of the south. fitting in to south korea's highly competitive society is a struggle for many of them. with high unemployment and no direct contact with their families back home. mr. son like all defek tovs received government support on arrival including this flat, but debt problems meant he lost his fridge and washing machine, and he now stores his meager food rations on the balcony. he's appealed to the government to allow him to go back to north
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korea, partly as a protest against the isolation many defectors feel. >> translator: over the years i've noticed political indifference towards those in the south and the circumstances they grapple with. there have been days where i ask myself why i chose to come here in the first place. anywhere a north korean defector goes, he could face difficulties and discrimination. the discrimination one faces from your own people can feel a lot colder. >> reporter: some have made it back to north korea, 13 of them according to the south korean government, although activists say the real number is higher. each return is celebrated in pyongyang with a press conference. like that of kim guang ho and his family 18 months ago. mr. kim told them defectors like him who escape to south korea were the victims of human rights activists conspiring against the north korean state. except a few months later he
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came back to the south. the authorities here welcoming him a second time. mr. kim was hauled in front of this court behind me and asked to explain his erratic behavior. his lawyer cited financial difficulties in the north. other reports suggested he may have feared for his safety. either way the court was an amused and gave him a three-year jail sentence. in a letter sent from his prison cell, mr. kim told us he'd been forced to take part in the press conference and that he was appealing his sentence. at the heavenly dream school the students have moved on to a class in barista skills, part of a plan to steer them towards jobs that don't require high levels of english, i.t. or social skills. life may be tough for defectors in the south, but the vast majority choose to stay and the challenge for south korea is less about preventing those that
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want to leave than integrating those who remain. lucy williamson, bbc news, seoul. a first sign of crisis management in ukraine and crimea, the osce is sending 35 unarmed military personnel. you're with "bbc world news." i'm nik gowing. bye-bye. check it out. i can't believe your mom has a mom cave! today i have new campbell's chunky spicy chicken quesadilla soup. she gives me chunky before every game. i'm very souperstitious. haha, that's a good one! haha! [ male announcer ] campbell's chunky soup. it fills you up right.
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hello. you're watching gmt on "bbc world news." i'm david eades. our top stories, can diplomacy bring russia and ukraine back from the brink. shuttling from capital to capital russian foreign minister says troops in crimea are not under direct moscow control. >> if these are the forces of self-defense that were created by the residents of crimea. we did not order them. they didn't get any orders from us. >> reporter: i'm tim willcox live in kiev on independence square. at the heart of this crisis